COLLEGE PROCUREMENT

Lowetide
February 17 2013 10:05PM

In a few weeks we'll be hearing about 'college free agents' and names like Dan DeKeyser, Andrej Sustr and Nate Schmidt. There's another name in this year's group, a name Oiler fans might remember. Krushelnyski.

Western College Hockey released their list of top college free agents this spring, and it's worth checking out for Oiler fans. Alex Krushelnyski--Mike's son--will be among the most sought after youngsters this year. Although the Oilers have never been a big player in the annual signing frenzy, they might be able to get a quality free agent to come along with them for a few reasons:

  • Edmonton's success in signing Justin Schultz suggests young free agents--especially young free agents--have noticed the outstanding talent base in the NHL's northern city. It's a good group with a strong future.
  • The Oilers are putting more emphasis on this area, as shown by signings of Taylor Fedun, Tanner House, Bryan Lerg and others (plus Schultz, of course) in recent seasons.
  • Craig MacTavish is one of the men checking on the NCAA free agents. MacT to Terry Jones:“My day-to-day stuff has been to keep a handle on the top 60 draft eligible players, tracking the kids we’ve drafted and seeing what their development is and where they fit in, as well as keeping an eye on free agents in the CHL and NCAA."

WHAT KIND OF PLAYER IS ALEX KRUSHELNYSKI?

  • Alex Krushelnyski describes Alex Krushelnyski: "I'd say I'm a little more of a finesse guy than dad was. At least he'd like me to be. It's funny really -- my style of play is totally opposite from the feisty style he played."
  • What he learned from Dad? "To shoot the puck. It's all about percentages. If you shoot five times, one is bound to go in. That's one thing I've been trying to do, in addition to keeping my feet moving. I'm a better player when I move my feet."
  • Western College Hockey on Krushelnyski: Krushelnyski was a player barely on the radar heading into this season, but has had an incredible year. Krushelnyski has 32 points through 30 games this year, including 28 points at even strength. He's the nation's third best scorer at even strength behind (Ryan) Walters and Boston College's Johnny Gaudreau. There's nothing flashy about his game, but he's the type of player that wins battles and rarely makes a mistake. He has the type of tools to be an effective bottom line player in the NHL.

He isn't big (5.11, 173) and he doesn't fight (5 minors all year) but he's an even strength dynamo, is part of the penalty kill and at age 22 is probably ready to step right into AHL level pro hockey. He's a winger, goes to Colorado College and majors in Economics.

 PENALTY SHOT! (by Krushelnyski)

ANYONE ELSE?

Dan DeKeyser is probably the top college free agent in this year's class, and he would be an excellent addition for the Oilers. The stay-at-home defender has good size, is an excellent skater and at 22 is a mature prospect. All 30 teams are apparently interested but the Detroit Red Wings may have the inside track (this is based on last spring's rumblings).

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The Glory Oilers had some college men (Glenn Anderson, Randy Gregg, Pat Hughes, Dave Lumley, Don Jackson from the original Stanley team) and many of the best players since 1990 have also been college or university trained. The current NHL team has Justin Schultz, Jeff Petry, Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Whitney and Corey Potter as college men.

With renewed empahsis on college procurement and the club drafting lower in each round (beginning this summer, hopefully), scouting and signing some of these young undrafted players is going to have increased importance. This might be a college signing season worth following for Oiler fans, so I'll be following the action and will pass along updates.

Next up: available college powerforwards.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 Aitch
February 17 2013, 10:16PM
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I was a big fan of Krushelnyski when he fist came over from the B's back in the day. But his son sounds to me like the type of player that we might want to avoid. If he's had one good year, isn't physical and isn't big he's probably not who the Oilers need in the bottom six. I'm not a Coke Machine at-all-costs kinda guy, but I'm hoping anyone we add in the next few years to the current crop does have some size.

The college men might be a nice way to re-stock the farm though all the same.

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#2 Robbie
February 17 2013, 11:59PM
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We should look into goalie Davis Jones playing out of Alaska-Fairbanks NCAA next year. Guys an animal. At 6'3 190 this kid has the whole package. Height, athleticism, speed and looks better and better every game I've watched him play. Ive been talking to some scouts over the last year and Davis always seems to come up in discussions. Everyone is looking forward to what he brings to Fairbanks and so am i. Definitely a player to look into and keep an eye on in the next few years.

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#3 Robbie
February 17 2013, 11:59PM
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We should look into goalie Davis Jones playing out of Alaska-Fairbanks NCAA next year. Guys an animal. At 6'3 190 this kid has the whole package. Height, athleticism, speed and looks better and better every game I've watched him play. Ive been talking to some scouts over the last year and Davis always seems to come up in discussions. Everyone is looking forward to what he brings to Fairbanks and so am i. Definitely a player to look into and keep an eye on in the next few years.

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#4 Oilfred
February 18 2013, 09:06AM
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I'm always a fan of adding for free, as long as we don't have to guarantee a roster spot with anyone.

From now we should finally have enough depth that everyone makes the team on merit and have real competition at training camp.

Its exciting talking about finding the role players on this team for a change, no?

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#5 Rama Lama
February 18 2013, 10:01AM
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There was no mention of Stu MacGregor .........is this not part of his responsibility?

THere has to be a good solid hard hitting bottom six guy who is good in the dot out there. I like Jason Gregors article in the Herald calling out management to do something and surround the young talent with a solid supporting cast.........Mr. Dithers please wake up, the season has begun.

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#6 Smokey
February 18 2013, 10:17AM
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Hey Allan,

When are we going to start picking out prospects for the Oilers in comparative to where we sit in the draft rankingsÉ

Right now we are sitting in 20th in the league at the moment, and that means we`d approximately pick 10th. Not trying to be a homer or anything, but that slots us in there to draft Curtis Lazar who is 11th in the rankings. That would be a King`s ransom, although I`d prefer Barkov or Monahan for their size and intangibles, but I don`t know if the Oilers will finish that low.

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#7 Smokey
February 18 2013, 10:26AM
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Rama Lama wrote:

There was no mention of Stu MacGregor .........is this not part of his responsibility?

THere has to be a good solid hard hitting bottom six guy who is good in the dot out there. I like Jason Gregors article in the Herald calling out management to do something and surround the young talent with a solid supporting cast.........Mr. Dithers please wake up, the season has begun.

Playing a bit of the Devil`s advocate, but the bottom six is starting to look like something. Could they use a gritty winger, yes. However right now the Oilers are starting to get goals and contributions outta of those guys. The PK has been all you could want so early in the season, considering the penalty trouble.

I`m a bit confused are you saying there should be a bottom 6 forward who can come outta college to fill a role now and win draws or are you talking about the future...

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#8 Rama Lama
February 18 2013, 11:18AM
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Smokey wrote:

Playing a bit of the Devil`s advocate, but the bottom six is starting to look like something. Could they use a gritty winger, yes. However right now the Oilers are starting to get goals and contributions outta of those guys. The PK has been all you could want so early in the season, considering the penalty trouble.

I`m a bit confused are you saying there should be a bottom 6 forward who can come outta college to fill a role now and win draws or are you talking about the future...

I'm talking more hypothetical......but surely there has to be a guy out there who can eventually take over for Belenger......more a third line guy with size and face off ability.

I'm talking about versatility and toughness, sort of like a Zenon Konopka type. Belenger is playing OK but does not strike fear into opposition players.

Mr. Dithers has known for eternity that outside of Horcoff and Belenger we do not really have any options in the dot. We could have had a guy like Knopoka for next to nothing......these are the depth warrior types that payoff in the playoffs.

Assuming we are trying for the playoffs.

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#9 Smokey
February 18 2013, 12:31PM
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Rama,

If you exchange Kenopka for Belanger you really have an inferior player.

The only comparable is faceoffs. Sure Zenon provides grit and toughness, but he`s not the penalty killer or reliable 5x5 player as Belanger. Belanger also till he got to Edmonton was a reliable points producer.

Belanger can be relied upon for 15 monutes a night, do you want Zenon on the ice that much...I`m not sure.

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#10 gcw_rocks
February 18 2013, 12:50PM
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Krushelnyski and Hayes would seem to be logical choices for the Oilers to pursue.

I don't remember Epp from last summer? How did he look at camp?

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#11 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
February 18 2013, 03:35PM
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Pass, and pass.

Who's next you want us to have a look at?

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#12 andrewmk20
February 18 2013, 04:41PM
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I know a lot of people aren't fans of undersized forwards, but players like krushelnyski have value in being an even strength scorer and penalty killer. Players like Rich Peverley and Fedotenko fit into this category. The fact that the Oilers lack any kind of even strength scoring would also make this a decent cheap transaction with little risk.

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#13 Rama Lama
February 18 2013, 04:46PM
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@Smokey

I think that saying inferior is a little over the top........do you not think? Let's see what Belenger has provided so far. Good PK and average face-off man at best.

Not a physical deterrent, point producer, or energy player. I think it would be safe to say that outside winning face-offs we do not really have need for him. I only used Kenopka as a example of what this team lacks, physical play, and deterrence.

I'm more looking for a Kyle Clifford type of player. There has to be someone out there.

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#14 Dog Train
February 18 2013, 07:48PM
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The college route could be a good way to plug some holes organzationally. Unless a dman is a sure thing or is close to NHL ready then I don't see much of a need to add another dman. With Klefbom likely beginning in the AHL, as well as needing a place for Musil and Gernat to play, there isn't much room on the farm. I would like to see us add some depth at centre. Josh Green, Marc Arcobello and Tanner House are decent AHL forwards but I don't see them as options in the NHL.

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#15 bsmart
February 19 2013, 11:40AM
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I would love to get Jordan Nolan from LA from the kings. He is the gritty secondary scoring kind of player I love in the bottom 6.

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